Unionized federal workers want no part of ‘austerity’
In the course of discussing the hundreds of thousands of dollars blown by the federal government to immortalize its bureaucratic royalty with fine oil paintings, I mentioned that nobody in Washington is acting very much like they live in the jaws of a ravenous fiscal crisis. National Journal provides Exhibit B:
The Federal-Postal Coalition — a group representing more than two dozen federal employee unions — pleaded with Congress on Monday to spare their members in any deal related to the “fiscal cliff.”
Federal workers, the coalition wrote in a letter, have contributed more than their fair share toward reducing the debt and are the only group that has been targeted so heavily.
“Federal and postal employees and their families are hardworking, middle-class Americans who are struggling during these tough times just like other Americans,” the group wrote. “No other group has been asked to financially contribute the way they have, and it is time our nation’s leaders found other ways to reduce the deficit than continually taking from those who have dedicated their lives to public service.”
They’ll fund a total of $88 billion in “savings” with three years of a “pay freeze,” and kick in another $15 billion in contributions to public employee union pensions. That’s about 2 percent of the federal budget deficit over that period, and about 0.2 percent of the $5.8 trillion federal pension liability. Haven’t they given enough?
Oh, and they’ve about run out of patience with that “pay freeze” stuff. A CNN report from early November said they want raises now. Public employee unions helped get Obama re-elected, after all.
Union groups say they’re much happier than they would have been had Republicans Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan captured the White House on Tuesday. The Massachusetts governor and House budget chief made clear during the campaign that they think federal workers are a big reason the nation’s budget deficit is so high. They talked about shrinking payrolls and cutting benefits.Colleen M. Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, said their support of Obama was never in question, as union members believe that Obama “has stood with federal employees 90% of the time.”
“President Obama recognizes the work that federal employees do,” said Kelley, whose union endorsed Obama. “You didn’t have to look very far on the Romney-Ryan plate to see how they valued federal workers.”
Well, as long as the private sector goes over the “fiscal cliff” first, its broken remains should cushion the fall for our all-important government workforce. And don’t you “fiscal sanity” types get any funny ideas about reducing the number of jobs funded by all those years of wild deficit spending. You don’t want to be held accountable for causing unemployment rates to spike, do you? Yesterday’s irresponsible spending will become tomorrow’s irresistible force for tax increases. Forward!